Let's cut to the chase here: The Dallas Mavericks stink. They're 1-5, they're dead last in the NBA in field goal percentage (40.5%), and their Offensive and Defensive Ratings are solidly in the bottom third of the league.
But this isn't a typical Texas two-step for your beloved Philadelphia 76ers. Tonight's Sixers/Mavs game is the first time Nerlens Noel will get to face off against his former team this season. And, from the sound of things, the 6-11 center is looking forward to going to work versus Joel Embiid.
"Oh, yeah, I’m going to come at him," said Noel in an interview with Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday. "I think we are going to have a great competition, great battle — just like we used to in practice."
That's not the only sub-plot in tonight's game, however. And no... I'm not talking about Justin Anderson squaring off against his one-time teammates (although that's a thing as well). No... this game is League Pass-worthy purely on the strength of the Dennis Smith/Ben Simmons matchup. Two of the most prolific rookies in the NBA this season... Point guard vs. POINT GAWD. So that should be fun.
The last 90 seconds of Wednesday's game was the opposite of fun for the Sixers, who will look to move on from that heartbreaking 105-104 loss to the Houston Rockets. In a weird scheduling twist, the Sixers will complete their season series against those same Rockets two days from now as they complete their road trip.
The Mavericks are a team the Sixers should dispatch handily even without Markelle Fultz. If they don't, then we'll be selling #TeamPanic shirts in our Etsy shop beginning Monday morning.
Game time: 8:30 ET, NBC Sports Philadelphia; pre-game starts at 8:00, along with our game thread.